March 3, 2006 3:02 PM PST

New study questions mobile TV and music hype

Americans may not be as enamored by the idea of watching TV and listening to music on their cell phones as mobile carriers had hoped.

According to a survey conducted by RBC Capital Markets, about 75 percent of roughly 1,000 people polled said they had no interest in watching TV on their cell phones. And about 70 percent said they didn't see themselves using their cell phones for musical entertainment.

The news could come as a blow to mobile operators, which have already spent billions of dollars upgrading their networks to accommodate new data services such as video and music downloads. Three of the largest cellular operators in the U.S., Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless, have already launched video services. Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless also have introduced music download services. And Cingular supports Apple Computer's iTunes service on some of its phones.

Even handset maker Nokia, which is investing in a new technology called DVB-H, is optimistic that people will spend money on watching TV on their phones.

But judging from the results of this survey and others like it, consumers aren't as excited about the new services as the carriers may have hoped. Linda Barrabee, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group, said that there was a similar response to a survey her research firm conducted last July.

"I think it's really hard for most people to imagine what the experience of mobile TV would even be," she said. "Right now, most people are using phones that aren't even 3G (third generation) compatible. I think they'll have to see how it can really work and fit into their lives before they can really judge whether they want it."

Barrabee and some other analysts suspect that early adopters of new mobile services will likely be people 24 years of age and younger. This market is roughly 20 percent of the 206 million cell phone users in the U.S., but young people tend to be the heaviest users of text messaging and ring-tone downloads, according to The Yankee Group's research. Only about 15 percent of the respondents in the RBC survey were between the ages of 21 and 29. No one younger than 21 years of age participated in the survey.

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28 comments

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I am surprised people pay what they do for ring tones
It's not like sound good on a cellphone, and often don't contain the entire song. I suppose there are those gadget crazed individuals who will continue buy ring tones and video for their cellphones because it's the latest thing.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am surprised people pay what they do for ring tones
It's not like sound good on a cellphone, and often don't contain the entire song. I suppose there are those gadget crazed individuals who will continue buy ring tones and video for their cellphones because it's the latest thing.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Watch TV on a 2" screen? What idiot does that? and PAY for it?
I'm surprised of anyone PAYING to watch TV on a 2" screen. They should be paying us!
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's only a few inches from your face...
watching a 2" to 3" a few inches from your face is not too
dissimilar from watching a small (15") TV from a few feet away.

Having said that, I wouldn't want to do it myself for anything
more than a few minutes and I certainly wouldn't pay for the
"privilege". I suspect that the mobile carriers are getting a hard-
on for this idea because of the "success" of the iTMS videos,
thinking that most people watch those paid-for downloads on
their video iPods... IMO, what is more likely is that the majority
of people watch them on their computer and not on their iPod.
Posted by No invasion of privacy (52 comments )
Link Flag
Watch TV on a 2" screen? What idiot does that? and PAY for it?
I'm surprised of anyone PAYING to watch TV on a 2" screen. They should be paying us!
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's only a few inches from your face...
watching a 2" to 3" a few inches from your face is not too
dissimilar from watching a small (15") TV from a few feet away.

Having said that, I wouldn't want to do it myself for anything
more than a few minutes and I certainly wouldn't pay for the
"privilege". I suspect that the mobile carriers are getting a hard-
on for this idea because of the "success" of the iTMS videos,
thinking that most people watch those paid-for downloads on
their video iPods... IMO, what is more likely is that the majority
of people watch them on their computer and not on their iPod.
Posted by No invasion of privacy (52 comments )
Link Flag
Market Research?
So did the carriers that have launched this service do market research beforehand or not? Did they discount findings that were not supportive of their plans? Is this another example of "If we build it, they will come."? What is Plan B if revenue from these services does not meet expectations, what is the next big thing? Inquiring minds want to know.
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Market Research?
So did the carriers that have launched this service do market research beforehand or not? Did they discount findings that were not supportive of their plans? Is this another example of "If we build it, they will come."? What is Plan B if revenue from these services does not meet expectations, what is the next big thing? Inquiring minds want to know.
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mobile t.v.
Remember the Watchman?
Nobody bought it then, why would anyone buy it now?
Posted by tundraboy (494 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mobile t.v.
Remember the Watchman?
Nobody bought it then, why would anyone buy it now?
Posted by tundraboy (494 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's the battery, stupid.
I suspect most people view their cell phone as an emergency device. The last thing they want to do is to needlessly run down the battery (by listening to music or watching t.v. on the phone) then be stuck with a dead cell phone while sitting in a stalled car in the middle of nowhere.
Posted by tundraboy (494 comments )
Reply Link Flag
definitely
yes, but that was true about 10 years ago. Back then cell phones were for doctors only.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
It's the battery, stupid.
I suspect most people view their cell phone as an emergency device. The last thing they want to do is to needlessly run down the battery (by listening to music or watching t.v. on the phone) then be stuck with a dead cell phone while sitting in a stalled car in the middle of nowhere.
Posted by tundraboy (494 comments )
Reply Link Flag
definitely
yes, but that was true about 10 years ago. Back then cell phones were for doctors only.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
What I'd pay for...
How about cell phone service that was a clear and reliable as my
landline service...that'd be something to get excited about! TV and
Music are both just really fancy icing on a really bland cake.
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What I'd pay for...
How about cell phone service that was a clear and reliable as my
landline service...that'd be something to get excited about! TV and
Music are both just really fancy icing on a really bland cake.
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee if its not I dont want it....
I have to say I enjoy seeing these greedy telecom carriers suffer at the hands of their own stupidity. We already pay for mortgages and a car payment and assorted household bills, not about to PAY for something else I dont need!
Posted by zincmann (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee if its not I dont want it....
I have to say I enjoy seeing these greedy telecom carriers suffer at the hands of their own stupidity. We already pay for mortgages and a car payment and assorted household bills, not about to PAY for something else I dont need!
Posted by zincmann (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
network upgrade
The network upgrades are also useful for mobile internet connectivity which is used by business with a growing market for a long time. This article misses the point by focusing only on services handsets
Posted by bobbutts (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
network upgrade
The network upgrades are also useful for mobile internet connectivity which is used by business with a growing market for a long time. This article misses the point by focusing only on services handsets
Posted by bobbutts (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Real World Example
While it might not show that the masses want mobile video
entertainment (We don't look at it as mobile TV, it's a much
different experience and the types of videos need to be different
as well) our company streams videos to mobile phones all over
the world. Our traffic for daily visitors is climbing everyday, in-
fact it's going through the roof!

So for us there is a market for mobile phone entertainment how
big the market will get is still very much up in the air. One thing
that is for sure, in the future these video entertainment services
are going to be free or bundled with data plans. Consumers
already pay too much for access tolls.

Sean
ZooVision
www.zoovision.com
Posted by ZooVision (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IMHO- the only thing dumber....
than some company honchos trying to provide video on a 2" or less
cellphone screen are the myriad of dumb ***** that believe they
can should pay to get video on on a 2" or less cellphone screen.

Zoovision will make much money while winning a a major award for
sponsoring idiocy among its customer. That is a very unfortunate
fact of modern life. It's like watching the vultures spread out the
poisoned grain for all the little mice and rats.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
It's the cost....
I see new and interesting offerings on a daily basis. Problem is,
nearly all of them require hefty or even unlimited internet access
packages. And the providers are too dad-gummed proud of
those packages. To get unlimited internet access from my cell
provider, I'd have to pay double+ what my isp asks for unlimited
desktop/laptop access.

Uh, no. Don't think so.

The day I'll be actively interested in this stuff is the day the cell
carriers come down to earth and offer practical pricing. And they
need to understand that I will NOT pay as much for services on a
2.5 inch screen as I do for those on my desktop or laptop. Ain't
gonna happen. Period.
Posted by gfxdesign (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's the cost....
I see new and interesting offerings on a daily basis. Problem is,
nearly all of them require hefty or even unlimited internet access
packages. And the providers are too dad-gummed proud of
those packages. To get unlimited internet access from my cell
provider, I'd have to pay double+ what my isp asks for unlimited
desktop/laptop access.

Uh, no. Don't think so.

The day I'll be actively interested in this stuff is the day the cell
carriers come down to earth and offer practical pricing. And they
need to understand that I will NOT pay as much for services on a
2.5 inch screen as I do for those on my desktop or laptop. Ain't
gonna happen. Period.
Posted by gfxdesign (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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